January 25, 20184 min read

On Jan. 20, 2018, I attended my first Women’s March in Los Angeles. The community I felt with nearly a million strangers was a new feeling — foreign but familiar at the same time. The sense of belonging motivated me to jot down a few lines about my experience. I dedicate this to every participant of the Women’s March movement worldwide — you put this together. You are our change.

As I crossed the streets with another girl’s hand in my own, pride flags dangling from our bags, I kept my eyes glued to the cement

in fear of what I’d see if I lifted my head.

But when I did look up

I saw no one glaring at me

Only a few women who glanced at us youngsters with big smiles.

Instead of seeing skyscrapers that echoed halfheartedly in my city

streets with the scars of the surrounding poverty

and walls with someone’s spray-paint vision of artistry

Downtown Los Angeles was pulling me in and including me as one of its own.

I have never felt closer to my metropolitan sanctuary than on that Saturday

and I have never before felt as close as I did than on that day to the original ideology of our nation.

Some Sikhs handed out bowls of fresh food — I asked them how much it cost, and they laughed and told me that it just cost a smile.

Speakers told their stories, some with thick accents — but no one in the crowd of over 700,000 failed to listen attentively or attempt to understand the perspectives that begged for years to be heard.

Positivity and unity was ablaze

I love your hat, I was told, wearing my hat with a small and subtle rainbow insignia

Great sign, words of encouragement I heard all throughout the event to all its participants

There were of course the antagonists of this story, as in anything that is true

A group of white men stood on the outskirts laughing through islamophobic slurs — but not only did the Muslim man stand up for himself,

but strangers around him rose to put the men in their place.

That moment is when new knowledge of my world came to fruition,

even though it seemed simple and there all along.

I reflected on the fact that

The world really is just a bigger playground

with more rules

larger cliques

and more room to forget the principles of kindness we are taught.

But on that day, I felt the warmth of the good people

the ones who do not grab women by the pussy

the ones who are understanding, the ones who listen

the ones who fight for the underrepresented

and the ones who will not let justice slip away.

As I marched through the streets

in good company

I realized that all along, it will be these people that make America great

and the fight for good embraced me with open arms.

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Catherine Horkay

Cat is a 5'0 senior in high school with dreams that reside much higher than her height. Her passions include academia, berry smoothies, and LGBTQ+ rights. (IG/TWIT: @catnipscarlet)